Covid-19 in Bulgaria: Some places have run out of hospital beds

There are serious shortages of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients in several parts of Bulgaria and some places already have run out, according to media reports on March 24, on the day that the country reported its highest number of newly-infected cases in a single day.

In Varna, hospitals were on the verge of running out of beds for Covid-19 patients and a further increase was being considered, reports said. As of the afternoon of March 24, there were only 58 beds free for non-emergency patients and 11 for those needing intensive care.

A total of 168 people have admitted for hospital treatment in Varna in the past three days. District governor Stoyan Pasev said that if the trend continued, there would be no vacant beds within two days.

In Yambol and Bourgas, more than 90 per cent of the beds for Covid-19 patients are occupied.

Of the close to 9000 Covid-19 patients in hospital, about a third are in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia.

Bulgarian National Television described the situation at Pirogov, the Military Medical Academy and St Anna hospitals in Sofia as “worrying”.

The largest hospital in Blagoevgrad is no longer accepting emergency patients. The surgical ward has been turned into a Covid-19 treatment ward.

The hospital in Gotse Delchev is on the verge of turning patients away. It has seven free beds and gets about 10 patients a day.

There are no beds available for Covid patients at the hospital in Silistra, Bulgarian National Radio said.

In Bourgas, the head of the regional health inspectorate issued an order on March 24 stepping up anti-epidemic measures, to remain in effect until March 31.

The order, which goes further than Health Minister Kostadin Angelov’s order that applies nationally, bars unaccompanied minors from being in a public place between 8pm and 6am.

Wearing protective masks is mandatory outdoors, with an exception for children up to the age of six.

All outdoor or indoor sports or training events are suspended. This includes national or international competitions.

Visits to markets and marketplaces are also suspended. There is an exception for those which sell only food.

A 10-person limit is imposed on attendance at weddings and funerals. At national level, the limit is 15.

Scheduled admissions to hospitals in Bourgas are suspended, with exceptions for certain procedures such as organ transplants and treatment of cancer patients.

In other news related to the Covid-19 situation on March 24:

Those placed in mandatory quarantine or isolation at their current address have between March 24 and 5.30pm on March 31 to lodge an application to vote in Bulgaria’s April 4 parliamentary elections using a mobile ballot box.

The application must be sent to the mayor of the municipality, district or mayoralty, or the deputy mayor, into whose territory the address falls.

A poll by the Exacta Research Group has found that 62.8 per cent of Bulgarians see vaccination against Covid-19 as the route to return to a normal life.

The poll was done among 1005 adult Bulgarians in 90 places in the country between March 12 and 20.

Of those polled, 6.7 per cent said that they had been vaccinated already, and 15.5 per cent had signed up and were awaiting vaccination.

The European Commission said that as of March 24, it had introduced the principles of reciprocity and proportionality as new criteria to be considered for authorising exports under the transparency and authorisation mechanism for Covid-19 vaccine exports.

It said that this  system has significantly improved the transparency of exports. Nevertheless, the objective to ensure timely access to Covid-19 vaccines for EU citizens is still not met, the Commission said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, said: “The EU is proud to be the home of vaccine producers who not only deliver to EU citizens but export across the globe.

“While our member states are facing the third wave of the pandemic and not every company is delivering on its contract, the EU is the only major OECD producer that continues to export vaccines at large scale to dozens of countries.

“But open roads should run in both directions,” Von der Leyen said.

“This is why the European Commission will introduce the principles of reciprocity and proportionality into the EU’s existing authorisation mechanism. The EU has an excellent portfolio of different vaccines and we have secured more than enough doses for the entire population. But we have to ensure timely and sufficient vaccine deliveries to EU citizens. Every day counts,” she said.

For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, please click here.

The Sofia Globe’s coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the Embassies of Switzerland and Finland.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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